Saturday's 10-game evening slate features plenty of exploitable matchups, but many tough ones as well. Five of the league’s best seven defensive teams are in action, but so are six of the worst nine. While some of the top value plays are facing inferior opponents like the Coyotes and Jets, one of the guys recommended below makes it despite what at first glance looks like a brutal matchup. Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Hockey contest now
John Gibson, ANH at NYI ($34): Gibson has been terrific since the calendar turned to 2017, winning five of six starts while allowing eight goals. Keeping that momentum going shouldn't be difficult against a Coyotes team that has dropped nine of its past 10 games heading into the weekend. Carolina's Michael Leighton would also be an excellent play at just $20 against the lowly Islanders if the Hurricanes decide to finally give Cam Ward a break after 18 consecutive starts.
Goalie to Avoid
Matt Murray, PIT at DET ($35): Murray looked rusty Thursday in his first action since Dec. 28, allowing four goals to the 22nd-ranked Senators offense. This matchup with the 25th-ranked Red Wings looks tempting, but it's best to let Murray settle back into a groove before utilizing him given his hefty price.
Jeff Carter, LA vs. WPG ($25):
Carter doesn't exactly come cheap, but he's still a tremendous value at $25 given his recent production and matchup. The veteran center has shown zero signs of slowing down at age 32, posting eight goals and seven assists in his past 11 contests. His 22 goals this season trail only Sidney Crosby
's 25, and he has a tremendous opportunity to pad that total against a Jets team that ranks 26th with exactly three goals allowed per contest.
Center to Avoid
Tomas Plekanec, MON vs. NYR ($18):
Plekanec's price has jumped up to $18 thanks to a three-game goal-scoring streak, but his two goals in the previous 28 games show that the veteran will have a hard time living up to that price against a top-10 defensive team. The key to winning in DFS is buying low, and using Plekanec now represents the opposite.
Tanner Pearson, LA vs. WPG ($17):
Much of Carter's recent production is due to Pearson's emergence as a scoring threat on his wing. The young winger has potted six goals in his past eight games, and his 3.4 shots on goal per contest over that span indicate that success is no fluke. Stacking Kings players makes sense in this plus matchup, but the affordable Pearson is an equally strong stand-alone option.
Andrew Cogliano, ANH at ARI ($15):
Cogliano is starting to break out of his slump, having posted points in consecutive contests while attempting a whopping 13 shots on goal in that span. The only top-six forward on the Ducks priced under $19 represents a much less risky investment than similarly skilled teammates, but offers just as much upside against the league's second-worst defensive team.
Wings to Avoid
Jaden Schwartz, STL at SJ ($19):
Schwartz has a number of factors working against him here. He's currently skating on the third line, is facing the league's fourth-best defensive team, and poses a major plus-minus risk given that starting Blues goalie Jake Allen
has been pulled in consecutive contests due to poor play.
Rick Nash, NYR at MON ($21):
Nash finally returned from his groin injury Friday, but expecting a strong performance in the second game of a back-to-back is asking a lot from someone who previously hadn't played since Dec. 13. He gets even less appealing when you consider the Canadiens will likely roll out superstar Carey Price
Keith Yandle, FLA vs. CLS ($15):
Yandle has accrued nine of his 20 points on the power play, and his chances of adding to that total Saturday are better than you might think. While most will avoid the offensively-gifted blueliner against the Blue Jackets, their 15th-ranked penalty kill is actually very beatable. Add in that Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky
is unlikely to start the second game of a back-to-back coming off the flu, and Yandle's chances of contributing offensively for an affordable price look very strong.
Justin Faulk, CAR vs. NYI ($17):
Faulk is by far the most productive blueliner on his team, as evidenced by his 0.57 points per game pace since the start of the 2014-15 campaign. He's not even the most expensive Hurricanes defenseman, as his usual mid-$20s price has been reduced to $17 by a recent lower-body injury. Outplaying that valuation won't be difficult against the worst team in the Eastern Conference, making this as good a buy-low opportunity as you'll see on Faulk.
Defensemen to Avoid
John Klingberg, DAL vs. MIN ($15):
Klingberg has a similar resume to Yandle, but adding to his nine power-play points will be much more difficult against Devan Dubnyk
and the fourth-ranked Wild penalty kill. While his offensive skill offers a tempting high ceiling, Klingberg's unlikely to reach it Saturday.
Zach Werenski, CLS at FLA ($22):
Werenski is even more power-play reliant than Klingberg, with 15 of his 25 points coming in such situations. The fifth-ranked Panthers penalty kill has allowed opponents to succeed on just 14.9 percent of their extra-man situations, thus neutering the rookie defenseman's value. Since his value is tied almost exclusively to offense due to an unimpressive blocks total, Werenski will have a very hard time justifying a $22 investment.
The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.